Robert G. Raskin

1957 - 2012

Robert G. Raskin died on March 2, 2012 at the age of 55.

Raskin was Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California from 1997 to 2006, and since 2006 had served as Supervisor of the Science Data Engineering and Archiving Group, Instrument Software and Science Data Systems, at JPL.

Raskin received a PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Michigan in 1992. He was the co-founder and first chair (2008-2009) and board director (2009-2011) of the AAG’s Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group (CISG). Raskin made significant contributions to broadening the connections between cyberinfrastructure (CI) and geography over the past 20 years. He was an expert in geoinformatics, which combines theoretical knowledge of Geographical Science with the technical innovation of Computer Science, and in the field of data interoperability in the Earth and environmental sciences. He was lead developer of the POET ( user interface for online data access from the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC), a tool used for many years by PO.DAAC and various ESIP/MEASURES efforts. Raskin had also served as Vice President, Chair of the Products and Services Committee, Chair of the Information Technology and Interoperability Committee, Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Chair of the GIS Cluster, and Organizer of the Interagency Forum on Data Preservation and Stewardship for the Earth Science Information Partner (ESIP) Federation.

Raskin was well known through the development of Semantic Web Terminologies for Earth and Environmental Science (SWEET), and his paper on knowledge representation in SWEET was acknowledged as the one of the top 10 most cited articles published between 2005 and 2010 by Computers & Geosciences (see Raskin organized and chaired over 20 sessions at AAG Annual Meetings covering a wide range of advanced CI topics, including geospatial semantics, virtual organization, spatial decision support systems and high performance computing. He co-edited special issues in two prestigious GIScience journals – International Journal of Geographic Information Science, and Computer, Environment and Urban Systems – capturing the state of research progress taking place in cyberinfrastructure and fostering significant discussion on future research.

In addition to his exceptional research achievements and tireless service, Raskin demonstrated a keen desire to inspire and guide young researchers to successful careers.

Robert G. Raskin (Necrology). 2012. AAG Newsletter 47(6): 28.